Some of you may remember I taught a painting class to a local group of homeschoolers earlier this year. It was an initially nervous experience, but ended up being rewarding and fun. So I signed up to teach two more during their group’s ‘school year’.
This next one was inspired by Baylee Jae’s video on the subject. She followed tutorials from another website and then made her own (tutorial). You can watch below if you’d like to see her step-by-step instructions for making two types of books: hardcover and softcover.
My mom and I found a forgotten hoard of scrapbooking paper amongst our old craft storage, and decided they would be great for the covers. Ideally, I thought doing the hardcover books would be a better class idea. They seem more durable and certainly look fancier.
However, as we quickly learned through following the tutorials, it wouldn’t work. We would need to get chip board (or at least enough cardboard), and the class was only an hour long. So the simple staple-bound softcover version won out.
When I say simple, it’s in theory. Choose the paper, cut the paper, poke holes, put staples, and BAM you’re done. But it took time to size the paper out, since the cover papers were square and the inside papers were too long. A simple thing to do, but cutting exact straight lines on multiple papers with little exact-o knives and scissors ended up being somewhat difficult.
If you want to do this project, or need to cut paper often, I recommend looking into a guillotine cutter. Often used in schools, they are great and effective for chopping paper in bulk with clean cuts. Because of that, they can often cost over a hundred dollars.
Surprisingly, the $26 one we purchased from Walmart for the class works great. It can easily slice 10 papers of ‘average’ thickness (i.e. printer paper). It made everything go much smoother and faster than expected, which was a relief when my class size doubled overnight.
Only a few kids had signed up to attend, but on the day of every other class at the time was canceled. As the only option, I suddenly had no idea how many kids would come. In the end, there were about nine total, ranging from the ages of roughly six to fifteen.
Sadly, I forgot to take any pictures. I was so concerned with the paper and the cutting and making sure none of the kids poked themselves with the tacks or staples that it slipped my mind. To paint the picture, there were three tables: one with the scrapbook paper spread out, another with different colored papers for the inside, and the last was the table where they worked.
In the painting class, the kids had been boisterous with their ideas, but here they were so quiet. At first I thought they were bored with the project. But it became clear partway through that they were silenced by intense focus. Most of them were incredibly intent on having perfectly lined up pages with perfectly placed staples. I had to remind them that the only essential measurement was the 1.2 centimeters apart holes so the staples would fit.
Once their books were folded and stapled, I used the guillotine cutter to trim the far edge. Many said ‘thank you’ and proudly left to show their parents. A few kids came in after class and apologized for missing it. They had been playing Yu-gi-oh in another room and lost track of time. I told them not to worry, that if they wanted they could take some paper home with them to make a book there. One person was very excited at the prospect of a DIY hardcover book, as I explained that I’d post a link to Baylee’s video on their group’s Facebook page.
All in all, it was a good time. I’m glad the kids enjoyed making the books, and overcame the challenges of it. At a few points they looked a little overwhelmed with the measuring and sticking staples through, but there were enough parents around to make sure everyone had a helping hand.
My next class is in April, and will be a bit unlike these first two. Instead of a craft or painting, it will be a drawing lesson on some cute and funny chibis. You can read all about it in a month, and I’ll make sure to take lots of pictures of their adorable drawings.
Are you interested in following Baylee’s tutorial? I found it a lot of fun, and am tempted to make my own sketchbooks from here on out.